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When is Chinese New Year?

The first day of the first month in Chinese lunar calendar is the Chinese New Year. Then when is Chinese New Year in Gregorian Calendar? It can be any day in January or February.

Chinese New Year dates of the recent 12 years.
YearChinese New Year dateZodiac
2007February 18Pig
2008February 7Rat
2009January 26Ox
2010February 14Tiger
2011February 3Rabbit
2012January 23Dragon
2013February 10Snake
2014January 31Horse
2015February 19Sheep
2016February 8Monkey
2017January 28Rooster
2018February 16Dog

This online tool can help you to convert Gregorian Calendar date into Chinese lunar calendar date.

There are some non-overlapping days of a year between Chinese calendar and Gregorian calendar. So if you or your baby's birth-day is in January or February, then "When is Chinese New Year" is an important question for you.

For example, if you got a baby on January 20, 2008, which was before this year's Chinese New Year, then your baby's Chinese Zodiac is of the previous year's Pig instead of this year's Rat.

Principles of Chinese Lunar Calendar

Chinese Lunar Calendar's month is defined strictly according to the motioning of the moon. The first day of each month is always the day of New Moon, while on the fifteenth of each month it is always Full Moon. So knowing the dates in Chinese lunar calendar, you'll know the full-to-new status of the moon.

Chinese Lunar Calendar's year length is defined according to the time for the earth to finish a whole cycle of orbiting the sun. This is the same as Gregorian Calendar.

Twelve lunar months has 354.36708 days. The number of days in short from a solar year is compensated by inserting an Intercalary Month every two or three years. There are 7 years with Intercalary Month every 19 years.

Now you can see the advantage of Chinese lunar calendar that it can clearly manifest the motioning position of both the sun and the moon. So it is actually a lunar-solar calendar.

Chinese Lunar Calendar is the calendar used in the calculation in Chinese astrology. For those who want to research about Fengshui or Chinese horoscope, using Chinese lunar calendar is a must.

The Chinese calendar now being used came into being in Han Dynasty, which was 104 B.C.

Solar Terms in Chinese Lunar Calendar

Actually the Chinese Lunar Calendar provides more information than counting days/weeks/months in a year. There is another integral part in Chinese calendar, which is the 24 season terms (Solar Terms). These terms are marked below the dates in Chinese calendar. You can check this Wikipedia item for the details of the Solar Terms.

Via these Solar Terms, you can see the detailed transition of season, heat/coldness, rain/snow etc. It is very convenient for the consideration of taking clothes and agricultural activities. So I would suggest that you should not only be concerned of "When is Chinese New Year?", but also "What Solar Term is it now?".

To my memory, these Solar Terms are quite accurate. When I was living in China, on the day of "Start of Autumn", I felt the air turned obviously cool and less in humidity. On the day of "Less snow", it often just snowed a bit! "Summer Solstice" marks the day with the longest daylight and "Winter Solstice" marks the day with the shortest daylight.

The Chinese Lunar Calendar manifests ancient Chinese people's profound understanding on the science of calendar. Even from today's point of view, I still cannot understand how they developed it.

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